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Subversive skylines: local history and the rise of the Sayyids in Mongol Yazd

  • Derek J. Mancini-Lander (a1)


This article examines the emergence of the Ḥusaynī sayyids as key facilitators of the Mongols’ acculturation to Islamo-Persianate society and traces the expansion of their influence at imperial courts through the seventeenth century. Previous scholarship has emphasized the pivotal role of figures like Rashīduddīn Hamadānī in brokering reciprocal processes of acculturation from the empire's centre. This study builds on such work by shifting the focus to Yazd, a provincial city. It explores the evolving and unique role of Yazdī sayyids in facilitating such processes as they fashioned new patronage networks at court and reconfigured the urban morphology of Yazd. Furthermore, using local histories alongside universal ones, this study explores narrative strategies by which Yazdī authors, writing after the Mongol period, commemorated the sayyids’ emergence. It situates these writings in the context of larger transformations that affected relations between provincial elites and the imperial centre throughout these periods.


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The author wishes to extend his deep gratitude to the anonymous referees whose insightful comments and keen criticisms proved invaluable.



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2 On the sādāt in the pre-Mongol period see the myriad works of Kazuo Morimoto, especially his edited volume: Sayyids and Sharifs in Muslim Societies: The Living Links to the Prophet (New York: Routledge, 2012). Also see Bernheimer, Teresa, The ʿAlids: The First Family of Islam, 750–1200 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013) and Amoretti, Biancamaria Scarcia and Bottini, L. (eds), The Role of the Sādāt/Ashrāfin in Muslim History and Civilization: Proceedings of the International Conference Rome, 2–4 March, 1998: Oriente Moderno 18(79)/2, 1999.

3 Aubin, Jean, “Emirs mongols et viziers persans dans les remous de l'acculturation”, Studia Iranica, Cahier 15, 1995. Also see his Deux sayyids de Bam au XVe siècle; contribution à l'histoire de l'Iran timouride, Abhandlungen der Geistes- Und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Klasse 7 (Wiesbaden: Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, 1956).

4 Pfeiffer, Judith, “Confessional ambiguity vs. confessional polarization: politics and the negotiation of religious boundaries in the Īlkhānate”, in Pfeiffer, Judith (ed.), Politics, Patronage, and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th–15th Century Tabriz (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 129–68.

5 See, for example, Azfar Moin's discussion of the mysterious ʿAlid lineage attributed to Tīmūr on his sarcophagus, which explains that ʿAlī had impregnated Tīmūr's ancestor, the ancient Mongol queen Alan Goa, in the form of a ray of light. Moin, Azfar, The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), 37–9.

6 Rashīduddīn Fażlullāh Hamadānī, Jāmiʿ-i Tavārīkh, ed. Karīmī, Bahman (Tehran: Iqbāl va Marvī, 1988) [hereafter JT]. ʿAbdullāh Vaṣṣāf, Kitāb-i Mustaṭāb-i Vaṣṣāf al-Ḥażrat [Tārīkh-i Vaṣṣāf], ed. Muḥammad Mahdī al-Iṣfahānī (Bombay, 1269/1853) [hereafter TV]. This study uses two variant editions of Mustawfī Qazvīnī: Ḥamdullāh Mustawfī Qazvīnī, Tārīkh-i Guzīdah, vol. 1, ed. E.G. Browne (London: Dār al-Sulṭānīyah-i London, 1910) [hereafter TG-Browne]. Navāʾī’s edition, published by Amīr Kabīr, 1960 is better [hereafter TG-Navāʾī]. Abu al-Qāsim ʿAbdullāh al-Qāshānī, Tārīkh-i Uljāytū, ed. Hambalī, M. (Tehran: B.T.N.K., 1969) [hereafter TU]; Muḥammad ʿAlī Shabānkārahʾī, Majmaʿ al-Ansāb, ed. Mīr Hāshim Muḥaddis̤ (Tehran: Muʾasasah-i Intishārāt-i Amīr-i Kabīr, 1984) [hereafter MA].

7 See Lambton, Ann K., “Persian local histories”, in Yâdnâma in memoria di Alessandro Bausani, ed. Amoretti, B.S. and Rostagno, Lucia (Rome: Bardi Editore, 1991), 227–38; Miller, Isabel, “Local history in ninth/fifteenth century Yazd: the Tarikh-i Jadid-i Yazd”, Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies 27, 1989, 75–9.

8 Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad Jaʿfarī, Tārīkh-i Yazd, ed. Afshār, Īraj (Tehran: B.T.N.K., 1960), 6. On Żiyāʾuddīn and his more illustrious father, ʿImāduddīn, see discussion in Manz, Beatrice Forbes, Power, Politics and Religion in Timurid Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 148–9.

9 Jaʿfarī mentions the posts in Tārīkh-i Kabīr. See discussion in the editor's commentary in TY, 163. Although Jaʿfarī’s pedigree is not known, his membership among the sādāt is confirmed by the next historian of Yazd, Aḥmad ibn Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī Kātib, in his Tārīkh-i Jadīd-i Yazd, ed. Afshār, Īraj (Tehran: Amīr Kabīr, 1978), 56. A later historian, of the Safavid era, Aḥmad Ghaffārī also calls Jaʿfarī a sayyid in his Tārīkh-i Nigāristān, Bombay, 1859, 5, composed in 1552. Tārīkh-i Wāsiṭ is not extant, but is mentioned as a source in ibid.

10 Aḥmad ibn Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī Kātib, Tārīkh-i Jadīd-i Yazd.

11 TJY, 4.

12 Praise for Jahānshāh is located in TJY, 11. Manz conjectures that earlier he served under the Timurid Prince, Bāysunghur. Manz, Power, 53.

13 Bāfqī, Muḥammad Mufīd, Jāmiʿ-i Mufīdī, ed. Afshār, Īraj, 3 vols (Tehran: Asāṭīr, 2007).

14 JM, 3: 657–8. Mufīd explains that Allāh Qulī had lived in Yazd for forty years, probably since his uncle, Kalb ʿAlī had been given the city as a tuyūl under Shāh ʿAbbās II (3: 213).

15 Mufīd includes the royal order, dated 1080 ah, installing him in that post, which had previously been held by the vizier, himself: JM, 3: 759–60.

16 Ruknuddīn Muḥammad Ḥusaynī Yazdī, Jāmiʿ al-Khayrāt, ed. Taqī, Muḥammad Dānish-pazhūh and Īraj Afshār (Tehran: Farhang-i Īrān Zamīn, 1962). The Ruknīyah's vaqf is reproduced in Afshār, Yādgār'hā-yi Yazd, 2: 391–4.

17 Despite the existence of Nafīsī’s critical edition of MI, volume 1, the diverse manuscript tradition requires careful comparison (e.g. footnote 72). Manuscripts employed in this study: British Library Add 7632 (fifteenth-century copy); British Library Add 19807 (dated 1042/1633). Istanbul Manuscripts: Fatih 4227 (808/1406, copied in Yazd); Aya Sofia 3088 (dated 910/1504 copied in Constantinople); Aya Sofia 3087 (dated 900/1494); Esad Efendi 2082 (probably tenth/sixteenth century); Fatih 4226 (893/1488). Published edition: Muʿīn al-Dīn Yazdī, Mavāhib-i Ilāhī, ed. Saʿīd Nafīsī (Kitābkhānah va Chāpkhānah-i Iqbāl, 1326) (hereafter MI-Nafīsī).

18 See JM, 3: 329–31 for biographical notice on Muʿīnuddīn.

19 Kutubī, Maḥmūd, Tārīkh-i Āl-i Muẓaffar, ed. Navāʾī, ʿAbd al-Ḥusayn (Tehran: Muʾassasah-i Intishārāt-i Amīr Kabīr, 1364/1985–86). Browne's facsimile of Mustawfī’s Tārīkh-i Guzīdah (TG-Browne) contains Kutubī’s continuation; TG-Navāʾī does not. Mention should be made of another Timurid-era history, Jāmiʿ al-Tavārīkh-i Ḥasanī, composed in 855/1451–52 by another Yazdī, Tāj al-Dīn Ḥasan Yazdī, who served under Prince Iskandar and later Sulṭān Muḥammad, both as a military commander of ten men and a provincial administrator in Kirmān. While this work does provide abundant information about the author's native Yazd, the narrative centres on the participation of Kirmān's governors in larger imperial affairs: Tāj al-Dīn Ḥasan ibn Shihāb Yazdī, Jāmiʿ al-Tavārīkh-i Ḥasanī ed. Mudarrisī, Ḥusayn Ṭabāṭabāʾī and Īrāj Afshār (Karāchī: Dānishgāh-i Karāchī, 1987).

20 See Stephan T. Kamola, “Rashīd al-Dīn and the making of history in Mongol Iran”, PhD Dissertation, University of Washington, 2013.

21 Fażlullāh Rashīduddīn Hamadānī, Waqf-Nāmah-i Rabʿ-i Rashīdī, ed. Mīnovī, Mujtabá and Afshār, Īraj (Tehran: Anjuman-i Āthār-i Millī, 1972), 61132. Also see: Hoffman, Birgitt, “In pursuit of memoria and salvation: Rashīd al-Dīn and his Rabʿ-i Rashīdī”, in Pfeiffer, Judith (ed.), Politics, Patronage, and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th–15th Century Tabriz (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 171–85, and her The gates of piety and charity: Rašīd al-Dīn Fadl Allāh as founder of pious endowments”, in Aigle, Denise (ed.), L'Iran Face à la Domination Mongole (Tehran: Institut Français de Recherche en Iran, 2007), 189201. Also see Afshār, Īraj, “Rashīduddīn va Yazd”, Īrānshināsī: Majallah-i Taḥqīqāt-i Īrānī-i Dānishkadah-i Adabīyat va ʿUlūm-i Insānī-i Dānishgāh-i Tihrān, II/1, 1970, 2333.

22 TY, 92–3; TJY, 134–5. A khānqāh, bazaar, and caravanserai were added later. The larger complex was not completed until 725/1325.

23 Some accounts claim that Ghāzān Khān appointed Rashīduddīn Yazd's governor: Shabānkārahʾī, MA, 214. Kamola asserts that this is mentioned in Munshī Kirmānī’s history of the Qutlugh Khāns (Qarā Khitāʾīs) of Kirmān, Simṭ al-ʿūlāʾ li'l- ḥaḍrat al-ʿuliyāʾ, ed. Iqbāl, ʿAbbās (Tehran: Asāṭir, 1983). See discussion in Kamola, “Rashīd al-Dīn”, 114–5, 120. I have trouble verifying the reference in Iqbāl's edition.

24 Jonathan Brack investigates how Rashīduddīn and a handful of cultural brokers from Jewish, Shīʿī, and Buddhist communities fashioned the Ilkhanid imperial project of sacred kingship in the midst of fierce dynastic politics and sectarianism by mediating a variety of Mongol and local cultural and religious concepts. See his “Mediating sacred kingship: conversion and sovereignty in Mongol Iran”, PhD Dissertation, University of Michigan, 2016.

25 The Atābegs of Yazd were descended from Ruknuddīn Sām ibn Langar, whom the Saljuks appointed to rule as Atābeg in Yazd on behalf of the daughters of the last Kākūyid ruler of Yazd.

26 In one case, Rashīduddīn opposed a powerful, Shiite sayyid, Tājuddīn Āvajī after he had had gained control of the shrine of one of the Jewish prophets, Ẕū al-Kifl, near al-Ḥillah. The episode appears in Qāshānī, TU, 130–32. Pfeiffer references these events in “Confessional ambiguity”, 152–3. See also Brack, “Mediating sacred kingship”, 272–3.

27 This rivalry was palpable during the Ilkhanid period, even if it was to dissipate into so-called confessional ambiguity during the following century. This is one of the theses in Pfeiffer, “Confessional ambiguity”. Also see Brack's treatment of Saʿd al-Dawlah's handling of the Shīʿah in Baghdad in his “Mediating sacred kingship”, 108–24.

28 The ʿUrayżī lineage is treated in Ibn ʿInabah's fifteenth-century genealogical works on the Ṭālibids. See his ʿUmdat al-Ṭālib fī Ansāb Āl Abī Ṭālib, ed. al-Sayyid Mahdī al-Rajāʾī (Qum: Maktabat Āyat Allāh al-ʿUzṃá al-Marʿashī al-Najafī, 2004), 296301 and his al-Fuṣūl al-Fakhriyyah, ed. Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥaddis̱ Urmawī (Tehran: Shirkat-i Intishārāt-i ʿIlm va Farhang, 1984), 147–8. Ruknuddīn and Shamsuddīn are mentioned in the former work on p. 300 and in the latter on p. 148.

29 The sources are nearly unanimous on this imāmzādah's descent: TY, 106; TJY, 151; JM, 3: 520.

30 Niẓāmuddīn was buried there, and the site later became a popular burial ground for sayyids. Jaʿfarī claims Ruknuddīn's father built a khānqāh on the premises along with his own mausoleum. See: TY, 118 and TJY, 172. That site remained popular into Mufīd's day (JM, 3: 535). See Afshār, Yādgār'hā-yi Yazd, 2: 332–3.

31 Descriptions of the Ruknīyah complex are found in: TY, 81–4; TJY, 123–5; JM, 3: 654–6. Compare with analysis of Ruknīyah and Shamsīyah in Renata Holod-Tretiak, “The monuments of Yazd, 1300–1450: architecture, patronage and setting”, (PhD Dissertation, Harvard University, 1973), 24–73; Hillenbrand, Robert, Islamic Architecture: Form, Function, and Meaning (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), 224, 226, 520.

32 TY, 24–6; TJY, 69–71, 125; JM, 1: 86–8.

33 TJY, 125–6.

34 Fuller translations of the various Persian renditions appear in my dissertation: “Memory on the boundaries of empire: narrating place in the early modern local historiography of Yazd”, (PhD Dissertation, University of Michigan, 2012). Isabel Miller also considers these events as they are portrayed in TY and TJY in her “A Murder in Medieval Yazd”, JRAS 26/1–2, 2016, 147–56.

35tawsan-kīnah dar zīr-zīn-i intiqām kashīdah dar pay-i sayyid mītākht. Nāgāh az nihān-khānah-i charkh shuʿbadah-bāz shuʿbadah-bāzī āghāz kardah amrī-yi gharīb vāqiʿ gardīd va bi-dān sabab ḥukm-i shaqāvat-shiʿār bar ān janāb dast yāft.JM, 3: 543–4. Analogous passage in TJY, 125–6.

36 On the significance of the Christian merchant in this episode see Miller, “A murder”, 155–6.

37 JM, 3: 544. Comparable passages: TY, 84; TJY, 126.

38 TJY, 126.

39 TJY, 126; JM, 3: 544.

40 TY, 84; TJY, 126–7; JM, 3: 545–6.

41 TY, 85; TJY, 127; JM, 3: 549.

42 TY, 85–6; TJY, 127–8; JM, 3: 549–51.

43 The offices and titles given in each work are: “nīyābat-i vizārat-i tamām-i mamālik” and “qāżī-i qużātī va awqāf” (TY, 85); “nīyābat-i ʿāmmah-i mamālik va qażā va ṣadārat” (TJY, 127–8); “ṣadārat-i mamālik va nīyābat-i ʿāmmah va qażā-i kul-i vilāyat” (JM, 3: 551–2).

44 Mufīd erroneously writes here that Shamsuddīn married Ghiyās̱uddīn's daughter. All sources agree that he married Ghiyās̱uddīn's sister (Rashīduddīn's daughter). Elsewhere, Mufīd correctly identifies her: JM, 3: 549–52; TY, 88–9; TJY, 131.

45 TY, 85–6; TJY, 128; JM, 3: 553.

46 TY, 86; TJY, 128; JM, 3: 554.

47 JK, 174, 199.

48 TY, 86–7; TJY, 128–9; JM, 3: 556; JK, 31–2.

49 Shamsuddīn's wife transported his body from Tabrīz to Yazd for interment. TY, 88–9; TJY, 131; JM, 3: 559.

50 Holod-Tretiak, “Monuments of Yazd”, 81–2, 84.

51 Pfeiffer, “Confessional ambiguity”, 143–50. Pfeiffer locates Ghāzān's order for the building of Dār al-Siyādahs in Qāshānī’s TU (p. 93). These were to be constructed in Tabrīz, Iṣfahān, Shīrāz, Baghdād, Kirmān, Kāshān, Sivas, Kūfah, and Yazd. Also see Holod-Tretiak, “Monuments of Yazd”, 55, 150.

52 TY, 88; TJY, 129–30; JM, 3: 558–9.

53 For ritual visitation to Ruknuddīn's tomb: JM, 3: 655, to Shamsuddīn's tomb: TJY, 131; JM, 3: 559, 655–6. Jaʿfarī does not mention visitation.

54 TY, 89; TJY, 131; JM, 3: 559–60. The daughter's name is not given in the Yazdī histories but is mentioned in JK, 70. The Yazdī historians explicitly put Muʿīnuddīn Ashraf in the ʿUrayżī lineage in the above-cited passages, without specifying his particular line of descent.

55 Jean Aubin, “Le patronage culturel en Iran sous les Īlkhāns. Une grande famille de Yazd”, Le monde iranien et l'Islam 3, 1965.

56 TG-Navāʾī, 620–1.

57 Akio Iwatake, “The waqfs of the Niẓām family in fourteenth century Yazd”, The Shirin 72/3, 1989, 16. I am grateful to Mimi Hanaoka for providing an English translation of this article, which is in Japanese. See Abū Bakr al-Quṭbī Aharī, Tārīkh-i Shaykh Uwais (History of Shaykh Uwais) an Important Source for the History of Adharbaijān in the Fourteenth Century (The Hague: Excelsior, 1954), 156–7.

58 JK, 202–3.

59 The Dastūr al-Kātib was completed in the mid-eighth/fourteenth century, years after Ghiyās̱ al-Dīn's death, and was dedicated, in the end, to the Jalāyarid Sulṭān Uvays (d. 776/1374).

60 Muḥammad ibn Hindū-Shāh Nakhchivānī, Dastūr al-Kātib fī Taʿyīn al-Marātib, ed. ʿAlīzādah, ʿAbdulkarīm, 2 vols (Moscow: Nawka, 1964–76), 1: 301. The role and duties of the office of the deputy of the vizier (nīyābat-i vizārat) are described in full (2: 122–5). Aubin was the first to comment on this passage in his “Une grande famille de Yazd”, 113.

61 In Amīn Aḥmad Rāzī’s entry on the Ruknīyah and Shamsīyah complexes in his Safavid-era Haft Iqlīm (completed 1002/1594), the author asserts that every caravanserai between Yazd and Tabrīz was the work of this pair of sayyids. Rāzī, Amīn Aḥmad, Haft Iqlīm, ed. Fāżil, Javād (Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-yi ʿAlī Akbar ʿIlmī va Kitābfurūshi-yi adabīyah, 1960), 1: 147–8. Rāzī also specifies that the father and son ordered the founding of 444 edifices on a single Wednesday.

62 The Yazdī sources do not elaborate on Ruknuddīn Ḥasan's vizierate, which is discussed in Kutubī, Tārīkh-i Āl-i Muẓaffar, 98 and Khvāndamīr, Ghiyās̱uddīn, Tārīkh-i Ḥabīb al-Siyar, ed. Humāʾī, Jalāl al-Dīn (Tehran: Kitāb-Khānah-i Khayyām, 1333/1954), 3: 304–5. He was executed for corruption and clumsy scheming. Even his father, Muʿīnuddīn, boycotted the funeral of his disgraced son.

63 TY, 23–9; TJY, 66–79; JM, 1: 83–93. Yūsufshāh sections are: TY, 26–9; TJY, 74–9; JM 1: 90–93.

64 Vaṣṣāf, TV, 253; Shabānkārahʾī, MA, 212–4. Rashīduddīn only mentions Yūsufshāh obliquely (see below). Kutubī/Mustawfī’s account of Atābeg Yūsufshāh occurs in the midst of his discussion of Sharafuddīn Muẓaffar's rise to power at the expense of the Atābegs of Yazd. (In Mustawfī, TG-Browne, 616–19; in Kutubī, TAM, 30–31.)

65 Full consideration in Mancini-Lander, “Memory”, 329–67.

66 In Mufīd's rendition, the Atābeg is haughty and greedy (JM, 1: 90–1); Jaʿfarī blames scheming Mongol commanders (TY, 26). Kātib inculpates both the Atābeg and the Mongols (TJY, 74–5). Shabānkārahʾī’s account resembles Kātib's, wherein the Atābeg chooses to withhold tribute to Ghāzān out of pride; however, rivals use this as a pretext to convince the shāh that he had rebelled. (MA, 2: 212). Vaṣṣāf blames the Atābeg for deliberately fomenting revolts, although he narrates the story in the context of a larger rebellion of Afrāsiyāb of Lur (Vaṣṣāf, TV, 253). Rashīduddīn does not relate the whole story of the Atābeg's fall, but recounts Yesüder's murder in Yazd during Arghūn's reign (see below): Rashīduddīn, JT, 2: 820.

67 MI-manuscripts: British Library Add 7632, fol 15a–b; MI-Nafīsī, 36; TAM, 31; TY, 27, 95.

68 TJY, 79. Ḥāfiẓ Abrū’s fifteenth-century work relates that Yūsufshāh was assassinated by the Mongol envoys. He also states that this event coincided with the death of Arghūn. Ḥāfiẓ Abrū, Jughrāfiyā-yi Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū, ed. Sajjād, Ṣādiq (Tehran, 1977), 2: 198. Ghāzān pardons Yūsufshāh in Shabānkārahʾī, MA, 2: 213. In Vaṣṣāf, the affair takes place earlier, during Arghūn's reign, and then, later, Gaykhatu reinstates him as governor of Yazd. Vaṣṣāf explains: “Although Atābeg Yūsufshāh of Yazd had also walked that same path of revolt, hostility, murder, plunder of the Mongols and Muslims, and squander of the properties of the state, he was granted special mercy and grace, and named governor of Yazd”. Vaṣṣāf, TV, 267.

69 TY, 28; TJY, 77; JM, 1: 92. Muʿīnuddīn does not mention this appointment.

70 JM, 1: 92.

71 MI-manuscripts: British Library Add 7632, fol 17a–17b; Fatih 4227, fol 11b; MI-Nafīsī, 39.

72 MI-Manuscripts: British Library Add 7632, fol 23a; British Library Add 19807, fol 26b; Fatih 4227, fol 15b; MI-Nafīsī, 53. Muʿīnuddīn's complicates things because in all the manuscripts the author gives Ḥājjī Shāh's father's name as Atābeg Saʿd, not Atābeg Yūsufshāh. Earlier in the text, where he provides an account of the father, the manuscripts vary: in British Library Add 7632, he is called “Atābeg Saʿd Quṭbuddīn Yūsufshāh” (fol 14a). In Fatih 4227, while he is called “Atābeg Saʿd” on fol 15b, the name is written as “Atābeg Saʿīd Quṭbuddīn Yūsufshāh ibn ʿAlāʾ al-Dawlah” on fol. 9b but “Atābeg Quṭbuddīn Yūsufshāh” on fol 10a. Moreover, Yūsufshāh's father's name is written as “Atābeg Saʿd ʿAlāʾ al-Dawlah” in British Library Add 7632, fol 13a, but “Atābeg Saʿīd ʿAlāʾ al-Dawlah” in Fatih 4227, fol 9a. Thus, Saʿd or Saʿīd appears to have been the given name of both father and son; Yūsufshāh or Quṭbuddīn Yūsufshāh would have been his cognomen. Another possible explanation is that Muʿīnuddīn (or copyists) meant the title to be read “atābeg-i saʿīd or saʿd”. This would mean that saʿd/saʿīd was not a personal name but an adjective describing “Atābeg”, meaning “The Prosperous Atābeg”. This is supported by the fact that in some manuscripts the author refers to the Ilkhanid Pādishāh as “Sulṭān-i saʿīd Ghāzān Maḥmūd” (BL Add 7632, fol 16a). The theory that Yūsufshāh was a cognomen and not a personal name is partly corroborated in the chapter on the Atābegs of Yazd in Shabānkārahʾī’s MA, where the author gives all the Atābegs of Yazd the title “Yūsufshāh” (Shabānkārahʾī, MA, 212–4). Kutubī glosses over all of this, simply explaining that Ḥājjī Shāh's father was “Atābeg Yūsufshāh” (Kutubī, TAM, 35).

73 MI-Manuscripts: British Library Add 7632, fol 23a; British Library Add 19807, fol 29b; MI-Nafīsī, 53

74 MI-Manuscripts: British Library Add 7632, fol 24a; British Library Add 19807, fol 27b–28a; Fatih 4227, fol 16a; MI-Nafīsī, 55.

75 MI-Manuscripts: British Library Add 7632, fol 25a; British Library Add 19807, fol 29b; Fatih, fol 16b; MI-Nafīsī, 58. Compare with TAM, 35–6.

76 TAM, 35.

77 In both works, Mubārizuddīn's next order of business was to crush the Nikūdarīs of Sīstān, who shortly after Ḥājjī Shāh's ouster, rode out against him, reaching as far as Bāfq before Mubārizuddīn's forces cut them to pieces. It is not clear why the Sīstānīs risked this expedition, and it is tempting to think that the defeated Atābeg might have had something to do with it, but if this were so, one would imagine the authors would have jumped at the chance to mention it. Kutubī, Tārīkh-i Āl-i Muẓaffar, 37.

78 JM, 1: 143; 3: 329–30.

79 This parallels Aubin's argument about the sanctification of the narrative around Bam's sayyids in the Timurid period. “Deux sayyids de Bam”, 103–5.

80 The founder of the Niʿmatullāhī order, Shāh Niʿmatullāh Valī, was not an ʿUrayżī, but was descended from another of Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq's sons, Ismāʿīl. The hagiographies of the Niʿmatullāhīs (by Kirmānī and Vāʿiẓī) provide varying lineages, but agree on Ismāʿīl as the common ancestor. See Jean Aubin's published edition of these sources: Majmūʿah dar Tarjumah-i Aḥvāl-i Shāh Niʿmatullāh Valī (Tehran: Qismat-i Irān-shināsī, Instintū-yi Īrān va Farānsah, 1956), 22, 275. Mufīd does not record Shāh Niʿmatullāh's pedigree; he provides only the founder's Sufi silsilah.

81 İlker Evrim Binbaş demonstrates that the Rażī family was not of a sayyid lineage, ʿUrayżī or otherwise. See his Intellectual Networks in Timurid Iran: Sharafuddīn ʿAlī Yazdī and the Islamicate Republic of Letters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 30–32, especially note 14. The family is conspicuously absent from Ibn ʿInabah's notices on the descendants of ʿAlī al-ʿUrayżī. See his ʿUmdat al-Ṭālib, 296–301; al-Fuṣūl al-Fakhriyyah, 147–8.

82 This is a central argument in Moin's Millennial Sovereign.

83 Mancini-Lander, “Memory”, 269–77.

84 JM, 3: 303. The building was located beside Amīr Chāqmāq's mosque, but stood in ruins at the time of Mufīd's writing.

85 Mufīd presents the order for Allāh Qulī’s appointment as vizier, dated Shavvāl 1078/March 1668 (JM, 3: 209–10) together with the order for his assignment to other offices (3: 221–2).

86 JM, 3: 233–6.

The author wishes to extend his deep gratitude to the anonymous referees whose insightful comments and keen criticisms proved invaluable.


Subversive skylines: local history and the rise of the Sayyids in Mongol Yazd

  • Derek J. Mancini-Lander (a1)


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